March 2009


While reviewing my personal credit card a few weeks ago, it came to my attention that there was a recurring charge that I didn’t recognize. I immediately began researching the charge and after a quick Google search determined the company in question. I was immediately alarmed because this company had been charging me for months and was never supposed to be a paid service. In their commercials and on their site, it boasted of “free” and never mentioned that it was a “limited time offer”.

It seems that they have since made it more clear on their site. This of course is after class action lawsuits and complaints by many to the Better Business Bureau. How unfortunate that they don’t seem to understand the importance of customer care.  After speaking with 3 people within the company, escalating to the manager and being put on hold multiple times, I was not adequately compensated for my charges.

Customer care begins with the first contact a customer has with your company. It is their very first impression that they have of you and representative of the company as a whole.  In order for this to be positive, be sure you are representing a company or product that you truly believe in.

Once this initial contact is made, it is important to develop a rapport with the customer based on respect. This will allow them to feel appreciated.

Work with them to develop an easy and seamless way to complete their transaction. This will encourage them to return to work with you again.

And lastly, please be sure to thank the customer. With so many opportunities for them to select from, it is imperative that you show your appreciation for their business. On a recent trip, Southwest Airlines did this very well when the flight attendant said “You have many airlines to chose from but we are very happy you gave your money to us”. Nothing like a little humor with your thanks.

Excellent standards of service will lead to happy and repeat customers

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Murphy Assistants challenges Virtual Assistants and other Entrepreneurs to think beyond green and to encourage healthful and sustainable activities in the work place as well as at home  

 

What is a Victory Garden?

During World War I and World War II, the United States government asked its citizens to plant gardens in order to support the war effort. Millions of people planted gardens. In 1943, Americans planted over 20 million Victory    Gardens, and the harvest accounted for nearly a third of all the vegetables consumed in the country that year.  

Emphasis was placed on making gardening a family or community effort.

 

Today our food travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to table. The process of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting our food uses a great deal of energy and contributes to the cause of global warming.

Planting a Victory Garden to fight global warming would reduce the amount of pollution your food contributes to global warming. Instead of traveling many miles from farm to table, your food would travel from your own garden to your table. (thanks to http://www.revivevictorygarden.org/ for this definition)

 

Get involved! Let’s grow together!

 

Post a comment here if you are taking the challenge.  Lets’ s share our progress.

Send an email to us at victorygarden@murphyassistants.com if you are joining our challenge.

We will send you a gift to show our appreciation. You will also be automatically entered in our monthly drawing for prizes. The drawings will be held monthly from April 2009 through April 2010, the entire 5th anniversary year of MA.

This morning it was reported that Amazon is facing a legal challenge over Kindle. It seems that Discovery is suing Amazon for patent infringement. Discovery is claiming that they have held the patent rights for this idea since 2007.  They are citing that this infringes on intellectual property rights.

So you ask how this affects your business? You may not even offer a product, but rather a service based business. It is still very important to do your due diligence. Small businesses tend to be at a larger risk and possibly more vulnerable due to a lack of resources. 

When I first opened my business, I hired a designer to assist with the creation of my logo (no longer in use). This designer came to me with 3 options and I selected the one that was my preference. I did not have the knowledge that I now have, and trusted that the designer did her research to ensure that we were not infringing on another company. (Silly me, I will now always check). 

Wasn’t I shocked and apalled when I was watching a commercial with my family and my exact logo was in use by a company. Not just any company, but a very well known national corporation. My heart sank, and I immediately made the changes necessary to remove that logo from all of my property and hire a new designer to begin the process all over again.

Thankfully for me I noticed this long before the company did, however it could have gone differently.

Networking is nothing new to small businesses, and has always been a very important component to a successful business. However, in these uncertain economic times it is more important than ever.

I recently read about a group who has formed a small networking group. The purpose of this group is to not only meet with like minded professionals, but to also refer business to one another typically including a discount or possibly a barter for services.

The challenge is finding and attending the best events for your particular business. It is very important to find the crowd that best suits you, and join their meeting.  Ease into it by joining your local Chamber of Commerce and finding a committee that needs help. By volunteering, you will be giving back to the local business community while networking with a fantastic group of people.

Baby steps, but you can do this!  Happy Networking!